“It is a little superfluous for any foreigner to come to Rotterdam to lecture about economics at all. I feel a bit like a 17th century New England smuggler lecturing on seamanship to Admiral Tromp. The trade in economics nowadays is as much the other way: we send our young men to Rotterdam to learn, not our middle-aged professors to teach. Indeed some of our best middle-aged professors are named Koopmans and Houthakker! I suppose the logic of the situation is that I am not import at all; I am to be processed and re-exported, like cocoa beans.” — Robert M. Solow in 1963 when visiting the Rotterdam School of Economics.
“The American students were perplexed. They had come over from a prestigious Southern university to take a summer course in Dutch economics. Exploring the coffeeshops in Amsterdam they noticed a large number of adult men on the streets in broad daylight. The reason must be unemployment, they figured. Then they found out about … “
Graduate schools have reputations that rub off on their Ph.D.’s. Where you went to school is a signal of what type of an economist you are. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is known for attracting the best students. A Ph.D. from MIT, therefore, means something like, “Ah, she must be bright.” MIT is also known as solidly neoclassical with a Keynesian slant. Its Ph.D.’s are expected to be just that. Chicago stands for a conservative tradition in economics. Hearing “Chicago,” most economists will think, “Oh, one of the Gary Becker-George Stigler-Robert Lucas crowd.” (Older Ph.D.’s will evoke the reaction “Milton Friedman.”) Ph.D.’s from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst will bring “radical” to mind, because that is the reputation...
The field of economics proves to be a matter of metaphor and storytelling — its mathematics is metaphoric and its policy making is narrative. Economists have begun to realize this and to rethink how they speak. This volume is the result of a conference held at Wellesley College, involving both theoretical and applied economists, that explored the consequences of the rhetoric and the conversation of the field of economics.
New Classical Economists and Opponents Speak Out on the Current Controversy in Macroeconomics. Totowa: Rowman and Littlefield, 1983. Published in England under the title The New Classical Macroeconomics: Conversations with New Classical Economists and Their Opponents. Wheatsheaf, 1984. Translated into Japanese, French, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.
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